August 25, 2017

Der Weg einer Freiheit - Finisterre

By Justin C. I got on board with Der Weg einer Freiheit two albums ago, with Unstill. I wouldn't say there have been any quantum leaps in sound between that album and their newest, Finisterre, but that's not always a bad thing.
By Justin C.

Artwork by Max Löffler.

I got on board with Der Weg einer Freiheit two albums ago, with Unstille. I wouldn't say there have been any quantum leaps in sound between that album and their newest, Finisterre, but that's not always a bad thing. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, and Der Weg's take on atmospheric black metal remains as satisfying as ever, in spite of some line up changes through these past three albums.

The "atmospheric black metal" label, of course, has broadened so much as to mean almost anything that vaguely fits into the category of "black metal with melodic tendencies and/or some quiet parts." What Der Weg does is an interesting hybrid. They have depressive tendencies--just check out the song titles for a hint, with "Aufbruch" (departure) and "Ein letzter Tanz" (a last dance) kicking off Finisterre--but they don’t use the plaintive wails that usually go along with that particular subgenre. They also have orchestral/symphonic elements, although not the cheesy shlock that some other bands are guilty of. You won’t find thick swaths of synths or strings here--it’s “orchestral” in the sense of a refined ear for composition, rather than slapping extra instrumentation on top of a song that doesn’t merit it. They’re also particularly good at adding a grand sweep of melody without obscuring the dirty black metal underneath.

Der Weg einer Freiheit 2015. Photos by Francis Bijl.

"Aufbruch" is intense almost through its entire length, with excellent mid-range rasps and a piercing melody riding the waves of the music. It's somehow sad and furious all at once. "Ein letzter Tanz" continues that mixing, with a gentle, melancholy intro building over three minutes until the black metal comes back on in full. The turns are dramatic, but they never feel overwrought or over the top. A gentle interlude later in the song, with simple, clean guitar over a mournful tremolo riff makes the music cover a full range, from peak to valley, both in volume and intensity.

Interestingly, one of the shortest songs on the album, "Skepsis Part II," ends up being one of the most epic. It has some of the most furious rhythms and vocals, but it maintains its sense of melodicism even with everything turned up to 11. It's a skill they're particularly good at, and it's one that the raises the band above a lot of their atmospheric black metal peers. If you already know and like the band, I’m willing to bet you’ll enjoy this album, too, but if you don’t know them or are feeling a little burned out on atmospheric black metal in general, I urge you to check them out anyway.

Tagged with 2017, black metal, Der Weg einer Freiheit, Francis Bijl, Justin C
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